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Video: Senator mocks Biden on hot mic over claims cannibals ate his uncle in WW2

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on April 8, 2021. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
June 06, 2024

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) was caught on a hot mic moment on Tuesday, appearing to mock President Joe Biden for his recent suggestion that his uncle was eaten by cannibals during World War II.

Ernst and other Senate Republicans held a press conference in response to Biden’s decision to announce new border security executive actions. During the conference, Ernst and other Republicans argued that Biden could have taken those actions far sooner than he had and that he was only now taking action ahead of the 2024 election to address an issue on which many American voters have found his efforts thus far to be inadequate. 

Ernst said, “He really could’ve used his authority all along. We all know that, and yet he chose to do absolutely nothing about it. So why is he doing it now? Well folks, you don’t have to be that intelligent to see what’s going on. We have an election just a few months away and this is the number one issue across the United States.”

As Ernst and her fellow Republicans concluded their press conference, the Iowa Senator mumbled a comment to Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) about Biden’s trustworthiness.

“Bottom line, never trust a man whose uncle was eaten by cannibals,” Ernst said.

Ernst’s comment is in reference to remarks Biden made during an April 17 event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to discuss new steel production efforts to compete with China. During the speech, Biden sought to compare his record on veteran and military issues with that of former President Donald Trump. He also brought up his uncle, 2nd Lt. Ambrose “Bosie” J. Finnegan, Jr., who went missing while fighting during World War II.

“He got shot down in New Guinea, and they never found the body because there used to be — there were a lot of cannibals, for real, in that part of New Guinea,” Biden said.

Despite Biden’s claims, the Associated Press has reported U.S. government records do not indicate Finnegan’s plane was downed through hostile action or that cannibals played any part in why his remains have not been found.

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It would not be the first time Biden has appeared to embellish details about his life and those of his family members. Biden claimed in 2007 that he was “shot at” in Iraq, before telling The Hill days later that he was only “near where a shot landed.” He has revived that claim since becoming president.

During a 2019 campaign trail speech, Biden also said he was once sent to Afghanistan to award a Navy captain the Silver Star for heroic actions. Biden described being warned that flying to the award ceremony in Afghanistan was too risky but saying, “We can lose a vice president. We can’t lose many more of these kids.”

The Washington Post reported that in reality, the service member was an Army soldier, the soldier was awarded a Bronze Star, and the ceremony took place six years after Biden visited Afghanistan, with then-President Barack Obama presenting the award. The newspaper noted that in the span of his three-minute recounting of the story, Biden had the time, location, type of medal, the military branch, the rank of the recipient, and his own role in the ceremony wrong.

During his April 17 speech, Biden also revived claims Trump referred to those killed in World War II as “suckers” and “losers” and preferred not to be seen around amputees; claims which originated with anonymous sources and which Trump and named members of his administration have repeatedly publicly denied.